"Unflinching devotion to the Teacher is paramount in the life of a true seeker. To begin with, an external God can be the object of faith. But once the devotee grows to be a seeker, only a Wise Teacher can fulfil his quest.  It is then for the seeker to get purified and enlightened by the words of wisdom from his Guru.  Their bond and attunement put the Teacher on the pedestal of God.  Such an impeccable Guru-sishya bond alone bestows wisdom, strength and fulfillment to the seeker."

The Guiding force of Narayanashrama Tapovanam & Center for Inner Resources Development

Swami Bhoomananda Tirtha

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<< Chapter 9 Verses 30 and 31 >>
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अपि चेत्सुदुराचारो भजते मामनन्यभाक् ।
साधुरेव स मन्तव्यः सम्यग्व्यवसितो हि सः ।। ९.३० ।।
क्षिप्रं भवति धर्मात्मा शश्वच्छान्तिं निगच्छति ।
कौन्तेय प्रतिजानीहि न मे भक्तः प्रणश्यति ।। ९.३१ ।।

api cet-sudurācāro bhajate mām-ananyabhāk |
sādhur-eva sa mantavya: samyag-vyavasito hi sa: || 9.30 ||
kṣipraṃ bhavati dharmātmā śaśvacchāntiṃ nigacchati |
kaunteya pratijānīhi na me bhakta: praṇaśyati || 9.31 ||

Audio

Audio-BG-9.31

 

A devotee of the Supreme never perishes

At first sight, one will feel himself small, and the surrounding objects huge. With the idea of big and small arises one set of dvandvas. The dvandva perception grows in number, variety and dimension, making the individual feel humility, fondness and loyalty to the whole display. A note of confident intimacy, friendship and closeness constitutes this devotional note. It leads him to develop a sense of belonging to the whole. This becomes delightful, enlightening, expanding and elevating to the mind and intelligence. The entire football play of life becomes a mere occasion for this kind of mental and intelligential ascent and growth.

All conflicts subside. Full freedom born of oneness, inseparability, wholeness and supremeness reigns and begins to work subtly. It is a wonderful state of inner beauty, charm, harmony and integration.

However, under the influence of ignorance and delusion, the whole variety, instead of remaining a beautiful and discerning help and facilitator to perceive the Supreme, suddenly slips into a plight, where the undiscerning minds and intellects fall a victim to unhealthy and even damaging outlook, notions and traits. But, mind you, in all this, the Supreme remains the same singular, all-enfolding whole. There is no effort or intention on the part of the Supreme to mar the fulfilling variety. But the players and participants themselves work all the havoc-making variety and differences!

In spite of such gruesome differential plight, there is full scope for every one who slips, errs or deflects, to set himself right and restore his position as a sportful constituent and complement of the whole:

अपि चेत्सुदुराचारो भजते मामनन्यभाक् ।
साधुरेव स मन्तव्यः सम्यग्व्यवसितो हि सः ।।
क्षिप्रं भवति धर्मात्मा शश्वच्छान्तिं निगच्छति ।
कौन्तेय प्रतिजानीहि न मे भक्तः प्रणश्यति ।।
api cet-sudurācāro bhajate mām-ananyabhāk |
sādhur-eva sa mantavya: samyag-vyavasito hi sa: ||
kṣipraṃ bhavati dharmātmā śaśvacchāntiṃ nigacchati |
kaunteya pratijānīhi na me bhakta: praṇaśyati ||
(Bhagavad Gita 9.30, 31)

Even if the most sinful one, takes to the Supreme with unflinching attitude, he has to be regarded as noble, for he is well resolved.

Very soon he becomes a righteous soul, and gets lasting peace and elevation. O Arjuna, swear on me that the devotee of the Supreme never perishes.

This is yet another significant assurance of Bhagavad Gita, instilling relief and safety. Instead of identifying the statement as Krishna’s personal assurance, thereby giving a constricted, personality-oriented meaning and relevance, it should be treated as a general, but fundamental proposition, a clarification, imbued with its own merit and truth. In fact, the whole exposition is like this.

Although one may have a sinful disposition with derogatory and destructive outlook, he is yet not at total disadvantage, assures Krishna. Let him pick up and follow the path of unflinching devotion to the Supreme.

Sinfulness may be there; but along with that there will be some part of the mind, yearning for improvement. Let that part pick up unflinching devotion, trying to intensify and deepen it. If addiction towards the perishable world objects can create havoc, then a similar addiction for the Supreme can, by its very nature, be immensely rewarding. Mind always follows its concepts. If the concepts are great, their impact on the mind will also be great. As a plane mirror displays greater depth in its reflectivity with the increasing distance of the objects it reflects, the mind too becomes deeper and wider in magnitude depending on the loftiness of the concepts it nurtures.

Thus Krishna is only pointing out the mental law that one, given to unflinching devotion to the Supreme, soon becomes a dharmatma, virtuous soul. The new note of righteousness leads the devotee to eternal peace and poise. The process becomes fast and easy. In fact, the ordinary people do not take up devotion as earnestly and vigorously as do the so called evil-natured people. The repentance becomes a strong accelerator in the latter.

Krishna now asks Arjuna to understand the proposition and announce to the world, the relief and promise it offers. This is the excellence of the dialogue in Bhagavad Gita. Is it Krishna who speaks thus, or is it the author of the Text, Vyasadeva, who reveals himself in the statement? The intention is the same. To make the truth most pronounced and useful, the author wants Krishna as well as Arjuna to voice it. Sometimes directly, sometimes indirectly, sometimes impersonally – in various ways thus the message is conveyed. Both Krishna and Vyasadeva conduct the mission very effectively.

“The devotee, the votary of the Supreme, never perishes.” In making this assurance, Krishna is using the present tense. It is not that the truth has to become true some time in future. The fact is already established, it is current. Krishna makes it clear that this fact of devotional safety and sustenance is already there.

For the people of the world, attuned to this kind of spiritual wisdom, literature and culture, Krishna’s words are invaluable. Coursing through this complex world, the seeker or devotee, will often face challenges and hazards of one kind or another, as Arjuna himself did during the 18- day war. Many an enigma, loss and trap he had to face. Each posed as a fresh trial or test. But for the timely instruction and even expediency Krishna evolved, the hurdle would have been insurmountable.

Was it by any means easy for Arjuna to contend an army of 11 akshouhinis, led by his own invincible grandfather and teacher? Apart from the physical might, what about the mental conflicts with their debilitating thoughts?

In all this complexity, the only redress and assurance will be to remain tied to the Supreme, from which has emerged the world and all that it brings. When our life is confronted or assailed in any way by the world around, the solution and remedy must be from the same source and foundation, the inner power and presence from which evolved our bodily life and living. And the sure way to access this inner solution is to keep oneself integrated with the might and majesty of the Supreme. This is what Krishna emphasizes in the concluding words of the chapter.